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tv   [untitled]    June 6, 2012 9:30pm-10:00pm EDT

9:30 pm still ahead in c-span 3, a house oversight subcommittee hearing on natural drilling called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. and then a look at state health insurance exchanges that were part of the president's health care law. and later, a house subcommittee hearing on the transportation security administration's inspection program for freight rail, mass transit and highways. >> mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. [ cheering ] >> sunday night at 9:00 eastern and pacific on american history tv, mark the 25th anniversary of president ronald reagan's 1987 speech from the brandenburg gate in west germany. also this weekend on c-span 3, our series the contenders, 14 key political figures who ran for president and lost, but changed political history. this sunday at 7:30, james
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blaine, american history tv, this weekend on c-span3. >> the b-52, everyone thinks back to vietnam. they think linebacker operations. they think of the history of the b-52, cold war. so there is a different kind of power associated with the b-52 as opposed to other long-range bombers. >> these are two friends, union and confederate who knew each other prior to the civil war, who fought against each other at the battle of pea ridge in 1862. and here they are at age 100, sitting on the porch, talking about the old days. >> we have one to the east is marked 901. the gate to the west is marked 903. and they really reflect or reference the moment of the bomb which was at 9:02. >> watch for the travels of c-span's local content vehicles the first weekend of every month on book tv and american history tv. and look for the history and
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literary culture of our next stop in jefferson city, missouri, the weekend of june 30th and july 1st on c-span2 and 3. coming up thursday morning on c-span3, federal reserve chairman ben bernanke. he testifies before the economic committee about the economic outlook and the fed's efforts to improve the economy. that's live at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span3. hydraulic fracturing releases natural gas from shale rock formations by pumping pressurized liquids into the ground. the practice is commonly called fracking. a house oversight subcommittee held a a hearing on the environmental health and impacts of fracking. chairman of oklahoma chaired the hearing. ready. committee will come to order.
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this is a hearing on rhetoric versus reality. it's the second part series today. we did an earlier one with the full committee this morning. this is assessing the impact of new federal red tape on hydraulic fracturing and american energy independence. this is part of the oversight and government reform. this is the subcommittee we exist to secure two fundamental principles. first, americans have the right to know the government takes from them is well spent and second our gunshot duty is to protect these rights. our solemn responsibilities is to hold the government accountable to taxpayers because taxpayers do have a right to know what they get from their government. well work with citizen watchdogs to bring the facts to the american people and bring genuine reform to the federal bureaucracy. this is our mission. as we heard this morning, after years of worry about american supply of oil and gas, the industry has located significant new areas to explore energy and the results have been quite remarkable.
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last quarter, 58% of the oil that we used in america came from america. 79% of the oil we used came from north america. the united states is currently in a tremendous american energy renaissance. through hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, economic oil and gas reserves have the potential to create millions of new jobs and make the united states finally energy independent. increased energy exploration and production is one of the keys to turning our economy around and putting americans back to work. it's no coincidence that states with low unemployment rates are high in energy production. while technology has greatly increased the atm ability to find new oil and gas, this morning we learned and heard on testimony in the full committee about the many ways the administration stood in the way of the american energy independence by slowing down additional production of coal, oil, and natural gas. under the obama administration of red tape and endless government studies have discouraged new federal permitting. the energy renaissance we heard of today is taking place almost exclusively on private lands. we have a chart to be able to
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note how 96% of the new production that is occurring is occurring on private land, rather than on public land that is a loss of royalties and a loss of lease to the american taxpayers. based on new regulations issued last month, it appears this trend of underutilization of federal lands will continue and may also be push and spread into private lands as well. the department of the interior through the bureau of land management just proposed sweeping regulations of hydraulic fracturing on federal and indian lands that duplicate state regulations and threaten the decades old primacy. the federal government is in any better position to regulate fracking than the states and blm did not claim the states are not doing a good job. the president's blm merely asserts they are proposing the regulation on the basis of public concern. ironically, this public concern is arguably been fostered by the
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uscpa. in a multipronged attack they have lambasted public energy producers and fracking for alleged problems, but later the epa has only whispered that corrections when science proved the additional epa assertion invalid. this all happened while continuing to issue a stream of regulations affecting hydraulic fracturing before the current federally mandated study has even been completed. epa administrator jackson stated under oath before this subcommittee there is not a single documented case where hydraulic fracturing has contaminated groundwater. this positive report and this record is due in part to the physics there is another chart that i want to be able to put up there. fracking activity takes place a mile and sometimes well more, more than a mile below the aquifer line. and through several layers of rock, i might add. but it's also due to an effective and comprehensive state regulatory regime.
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regulators and the energy resource states like oklahoma, my state, pennsylvania, utah, north dakota, texas work closely with all interested parties, industry and environmentalists alike to develop a regulatory regime that is responsive to advancements in industry while protecting the environment at the same time. no one, i repeat no one cares more about the water resources of oklahoma than oklahomans and the people who live there. the assumption that federal regulators from another state understand the geologic strata and energy process better than state enforcement is beyond credible. i also do not accept the assumption that local regulators cannot be trusted because they have political pressures that will discourage enforcement. but federal regulators have only pure motives and no political agenda. look no further than the former epa region 6 administrator who stepped down in my region after it was revealed that he pursued and trained his staff in a
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strategy of crucifixion against oil and gas companies to keep the industry in line. this astonishing statement reveals that some in the epa see people in my district as the enemy, and they assume their job is to control them instead of to serve the public. state regulators work closely with the groundwater protection council to develop a website known as frac focus which enables disclosure of fracking fluids while protecting trade secret information. they work stronger the state review of oil and natural gas environmental regulations which is funded in part by the epa and the u.s. department of energy. stronger is comprised of all interested parties, conducts exhaustive reviews of state regulation of hydraulic fracturing, comparing the existing regulations to hydrolic fracturing guidelines. if a state falls short, the work is stronger to get them back up to code. even so, epa is moving forward with a confusing diesel fuels guidance which turns the safe
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drinking water act on its head. in 2005, congress specifically exempted hide dral lick fracturing from regulations under the safe drinking water because it's an ill fitted regulatory framework. the authority to regulate hide dral li -- but attempt an end run by braise denley redefining diesel fuels to include virtually any petroleum product. this overreach threatens the entire system under the safe drinking water act. we can have safe energy exploration and production overseen by states and local authorities there is a role for the epa, but i'm very skeptical that thousands of wells and many different types of rock and soil condition across the country can be overseen from washington better than state leaders who know the people and the land. we're so close to energy independence. this is a moment when we will
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finally solve a decades old problem where the federal government will get in the way and slow or halt our economic future. today is a pursuit of answers and clarity of the direction of the epa and bureau of land management to determine the goal of an administration who has stated they are for all of the above energy. and with that i recognize the distinguished ranking member mr. connelly for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i note the votes are occurring now. so i assume right after my statement, we'll probably, yeah. >> that's correct. >> i thank the chair for holding this hearing. our philosophies could not be more different. i disagree with almost everything the chairman has just said. frankly, we're -- the republican rhetoric in this body has been that the hob nailed voodoo government regulation has stifled the ability for the united states to achieve anything like energy independence, despite the fact that with epa regulation and
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other regulation our production of oil and gas and fossil fuels is going up, not down. we're on a trajectory to match saudi production, the world's number one producer in the world. we are on a trajectory to come close to eliminating our dependence on foreign oil entirely. somehow that happened in a robust regulatory environment. somehow that happened with this president and his support by having everything on the table, including fracturing. that doesn't mean there aren't legitimate questions to be answered so we can november forward with fracturing in a safe, environmentally safe and human health safe way. and those questions are not to be dismissed, and the idea that we're going to pit state regulators against federal regulators and one is good and one is bad is to me to invite serious regression in america.
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the truth of the matter is federal regulation was seen to be required by republicans and democrats not so long ago, precisely because of the failure at the local level -- lack of resources, lack of will, sometimes political interference. and yes, gas and oil producing states sometimes skirted serious regulation in the name of economic advancement. understandable, but not always in the public interest, or a competing public interest. and so i say we need reasonable regulation. we can all debate what reasonable is, but the idea that we don't need any resolution at the federal level at all, especially on something as potentially serious to environmental safety and human health as fracturing is a notion i reject. and i believe most americans will reject. we have evidence of toxic chemicals that are involved in
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the fracturing process. we have evidence of seismic events that may have been triggered by some of that process. and that's not a reason to say absolutely no to fracturing. it is a reason to try to be able to ensure the public that its interests are also being protected as we try to accelerate u.s. independence when it comes to fossil fuels. so i look forward to hearing the testimony, but i want to make very clear of my sharp difference with the statements made by the chairman here today there couldn't be a more profound philosophical difference in our approach in this congress to this subject. and with that, i thank the chair. >> thank you. and i will ask members to have seven days or allow members to have seven days to submit additional opening statements. and i would actually like -- when you mentioned evidence of contamination, the water source on that, mr. connolly, i would like to have any evidence you have to back that up because the epa administrators actually told
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us she was not aware of any contamination of groundwater at this point. so any evidence that you may know of at that point we would love to be able to add to the record as well. >> certainly. and i would remind the chairman that the energy and commerce staff conducted a study of chemicals used in fracturing and found at least 29 toxins, including carcinogens such as benzene, napt lean to contain these one known carcinogen. be glad to submit the study for the record. >> would not have a problem with the carcinogens being there in that. the issue is it getting into the drinking water. before i begin, i would like to recognize my colleague from utah, mr. bishop to do an introduction of one of his constituents who will sit on our panel today. we'll introduce the panel, but actually get into your testimony as soon as we come back from votes. >> i thank you, mr. chairman. apparently you have had one speech for, one against. do i get to do the tie breaking
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here? >> let's do the introduction. >> i would want to introduce mr. mckee, who is going to be testifying to you probably in about a half hour or so from now. he is the county chairman in my state of utah. he has been the chairman there since 2002. hopefully he is the chairman of the commission at this time. okay. close enough. the importance of the county is very simple, that 50% of 50% of the jobs in that county are tied up with the extraction industry. 60% of all the natural gas that is produced in utah comes from this particular county. this is somebody who can give you expert testimony from somebody who lives it and knows who son there. so he can testify that even though regulations are established to solve problems, sometimes when you actually establish regulation when there is no problem, the usual result is some kind of overreach in coming up with an abstract that does not fit the reality that happens to be there at the time.
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so i'm appreciative of you giving him close attention to his testimony because he can tell you about this particular issue of fracking from somebody who does not have to take a four-hour airplane flight through three time zones to see the situation, but someone who actually lives it every day with his constituency. and with that i welcome him here, and i appreciate this committee taking on this important copy, because fraccing is a significant issue for the state. and it's a significant issue for our future of the federal government. and i appreciate you bringing expert witnesses like mr. mckee as well. >> thank you. lori roddenberry is the director of the oil and gas division oklahoma corporation. we have done hydraulic fracking in oklahoma since the 1940s. this is not new. although i assume ms. roddenberry has not overseen it since the 1940s. well are very, very familiar with over 140,000 fracs in oklahoma as i alone.
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dr. robert is the director of the agricultural, energy and environment program at cornell university. thank you for being here as well. and mr. michael cranser, i had to slow down every time is a return engagement. he was on the full panel this morning. thank you for staying over. he is the pennsylvania department of environmental protection. this is a new thing in pennsylvania compared to where we are in oklahoma where we have done fracking since the '40s. you bring a lot of insight on how pennsylvania has continued to handle the state overcite sight. we'll start with ms. roddenberry's testimony as soon as we get back. we have three votes and will get done with them as quickly as we can. with that we stand to recess.
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thank you all for allowing us to have the pause there as we do votes. i think the next series of votes is around 5:30. we'll be halfway done at that point, right? pursuant to committee rules, all witnesses do need to be sworn in before they testify. so as i call us back in order, if you would please stand and raise your right hands. you solemnly swear or affirm to the testimony you are about to give this committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? thank you, you may be seated. i've asked you to limit your
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testimony to around five minutes. i think most you have been around this before. mr. krantzer obviously just a few hours ago on this. so you'll see a clock in front of you to give you a quick time to countdown. if you can just be as close to that as you possibly can on that. ms. roddenberry, you can begin. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, ranking member connell nolley. i appreciate the opportunity to be here today and talk to you about state regulatory programs for hydraulic fracturing. i am the oil and gas director in the state of oklahoma. i'm the director of the oil and gas division of the oklahoma corporation. we are the agency that regulates oil and gas drilling operations in the state of oklahoma. i'm also here talking today as a member of the board of stronger, currently serving as chairman of that board. and i'm a member of the board of the groundwater protection council as well. so i'm going to talk a little bit about a couple of the programs that those
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organizations have under way that are addressing hydraulic fracturing issues. i do want to emphasize how important understand that states do regulate hydraulic fracturing, just how they go about regulating hydraulic fracturing is documented in the stronger reports that i will describe in more detail shortly. but those, those programs that the states administer have bane roubane -- been around for many years they're comprehensive they're continually improving. and i think you can summarize them by saying they're strong, they're responsive, they're flexible, and they are adaptive. and for all of those reasons i believe they're effective in ensuring that hydraulic fracturing operations are conducted safely. the states do face challenges, many of the challenges associated with the development of new technologies. the use of hydraulic fracturing in different places and in different ways than it has been
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used in the past. so they're -- there is no doubt there are issues associated with hydraulic fracturing in today's environment. i will say the nature of those challenges varies from state to state. i can also say that states are acting to address the issues in a way that is -- fitting to their specific circumstances. i will just give you an example for oklahoma. in oklahoma the ramp up in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing activity in oklahoma, within the last decade occurred, during the period of severe drought. and so we did face some serious issues about the sources of water for hydraulic fracture operations. we also needed to do what we could to encourage recycling of the flow back waters from high drawli i -- hydraulic water from fracturing operations. for that reason we had to take another look at our regulations
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for the management of produced waters in oil and gas operations. those had been fatzed out decades ago. now we were in a situation where we needed to accommodate the temporary storage of flow back walters waters in pits so that water could be used in future hydraulic fracturing operations and save freshwater resources. to address the issue, corporation commission worked with industry and interested parties to develop new rules for the, the large pits that were used to store flow back waters on a temporary basis so that they could be reused. i will refer you to the reports. stronger is, as the chairman said, a stake holder process.
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the board of stronger, all of the guidelines development work groups. all of the review teams that stronger puts together. are stake holder that includes state regulatory, environmental o.s. in the last few years, stronger has developed guidelines for state hydraulic fracturing regulations and has conducted reviews of state high drawlic fracturing programs. pennsylvania, ohio, oklahoma, louisiana, colorado, and arkansas, and we are open to doing reviews in other states as they volunteer. what the guidelines and the reviews do is help the states benchmark their regulatory programs and identify areas for improvement. and the process works. if you look back over the history of stronger. stronger does do follow-up reviews to see how states responded to the recommendations they make.
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and over time when stronger has done follow-up reviews we have seen that fully 75% of the recommendations have already been made at the time of the follow-up reviews and others were in process. so the states do take these reviews seriously. in oklahoma, for instance, we have already, we did receive some recommendations which were welcome to us about how we could string lten our program under ahydraulic fracturing guidelines, and we have amended a couple rules and worked with our legislature and governor to address funding and staffing issues that arose in reese end years especially during the budget crisis we have been struggling through. so, we have taken those, those recommendations from the stronger reviews seriously and have acted to, to address those recommendations. we have adopt aid chemical disclosure rule. and here is where i wanted to talk about frac focus, frac focus is an example of what
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states are accomplishing by working together and with the stake holders to address the issues that have arisen. frac focus was put together on very short order -- on a very short time frame, by the groundwater protection council and interstate oil and gas compaq commission, that represent the oil and gas producing states, as well as -- groundwater protection council includes the drinking water program administrators as well. since that -- system went into effect last april, april of 2011, over #,08,000 wells have n posted to the site. the new rule in oklahoma is similar to -- rules that have -- been adopted in six or seven other states. the rule will require the posting of the chemical information on hydraulic
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fracturing operations in oklahoma to the frac focus website. we are trying to make sure that information is a available to the public. thank you very much. thank you. mr. mckey. >> thank you, mr. chairman. members of the committee. appreciate the opportunity to take a couple minutes on this-. my name is michael mckey, a counter commissioner in utah. my primary focus as county commissioner over the years has been relating to public land issues and natural resources specifically extractive industry and natural resource development. in the county today we have approximately, 6,000 gas wells. 60% of the natural gas in the state of utah comes from the area in unitah county. the industry provided many families with very good jobs, above average paying salaries. it is a way of life because -- 50% of the jobs, 60% of the economy unour area comes from
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the extractive industry. i am concerned about overregulation. concerned about the stifling effect overreach has on investment and economy. in regards to the new fracing pro posed rules i'm concerned that the government is trying to tucks something that is not broke. it isn't even limping. in my ten years of being a county commissioner i have never heard of one valid violation or concern with hydraulic fracturing, this includes the fluids used, the depth, method of injection or any other concern, concerned with fracturing. we just do not have the problem. fracturing, hydraulic fracturing is not a new technology but a process that has been responsibly use ford over 60 years. hydraulic fracturing is a safe, well tested technology that has enabled the u.s. to develop unconventional natural gas and increase reserves to over 100
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year supply. fracturing has been performed in over 1 million wells with exemplarily safety record, 90% of the wells, realize high drawling fracturing. hydraulic drilling and fracturing allows operators to produce ten times the amount of energy by drilling fewer than 1/10 the number of wells. we are delivering cleaner burning domestic energy and more of it, while drilling fewer holes to get to it. regulatory decisions, are best made at the state level and not regulated by a federal bureaucracy far removed from the issue. this is why individual states can better tailor tospa -- spa sievic neef specific ne. state regulators understand the needs of the communities that they regulate, much better than a far removed federal government
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and have technical expertise, resources and experience. on march 14th, 2012, now former director testified in the senate that there has been a shift in oil and gas production to private lands to the east and to the south where there is lesser amount of federal mineral estate. we have seen investment from public land to other areas, of course, fracturing is, is, is because this is part of the -- concern we have is this, shift of investment can happen from this. only 15% of my county is privately owned. these decisions can have a tremendous effect on the entire west, where we have vast holdings of public lands. that and additional burdens to development on federal lands could have an adverse effect of forcing operators to shift investment away from my state and public land areas depriving our citizens of needed jobs and income. the natural


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